Religion

Teacher Fired For Allegedly Ripping Off Girl's Hijab

| by Sheena Vasani

A New York school fired a substitute teacher after he forced an 8-year-old student to take her hijab off on May 8.

Oghenetega Edah, 31, allegedly pulled the religious scarf off after he reportedly found the Bennington School student misbehaving by sitting in the teacher's chair, the New York Post reports.

When the girl refused to move, Edah threatened to remove the hijab.

"I'm taking it off," he said before acting on his promise, injuring the girl's right eye as he did so.

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"This alleged behaviour is completely unacceptable," said Michael Aciman, a Department of Education spokesman.

"This individual was removed from the school immediately and his employment has been terminated," he added.

Authorities note Edah was a recent hire; his contract began in January and ended on May 3.

Parents were outraged upon hearing the news.

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"It's crazy ... I just feel like teachers are supposed to control their anger a little bit more," said Yvarie Ortiz, parent of a first-grader at the school. "That's why they're there. To teach and be calm. They're supposed to be patient. That's your job."

News of the incident upset many on social media, as well.

A few believed it reflected Islamophobia, noting the countless cases in which Muslims are increasingly being harassed nationwide.

"Zero excuses for this kind of despicable behavior," wrote civil and human rights activist Zainab Chaudry on her Facebook page.

"That is the reason my child is going to Islamic school ... No racism there!," wrote another.

"I'm no friend of Islam," added another Reddit user. "But I don't hate people who follow it. least of all a little kid who is still innocent. This guy deserves to be fired, barred from ever dealing with kids and summarily kicked in the jaw."

Some, however, thought the issue was more about poor hiring standards.

"It's important to note that this was a substitute teacher," wrote one person on Reddit. "Why? Because the requirements for substitutes are nowhere near the requirements for teachers. Anybody that passes a criminal background check can be a substitute teacher."

Still, a few disagreed and thought others were looking too deeply into the incident.

"F*** this article for making it seem like this was some sort of religious conflict," wrote one user. "It was a sh***y kid refusing to get out of a subs chair, and the sub just happened to be a dips*it who thought taking off a hijab was a proportionate response."

Sources: New York Post, Zainab Chaudry/Facebook, Reddit / Photo credit: Nick Leonard/Flickr

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